Friday, 23 February 2018

Margate and the odd mill out at Drapers, a bit of a ramble

Among the fairly large amount of pictures of Thanet I have in various forms either on paper or as digital files I have a substantial digital archive of Margate ones coped by Mick Twyman.

So when it was announced that the mill had had a new cap and vane fitted I copied all of the ones of Draper’s Mills and bunged them at the end of yesterday’s blog post. I know that this isn’t a very scientific approach to history, but there they were and so there they went.

 But is this one of Draper’s Mills? Mick Twyman has labelled it as such, but like so many local historians he is unfortunately dead, so I can’t ask him. However I am pretty sure that it isn't, in fact I don't think the middle tower was a mill at all. I think it may have been some sort of defensive structure, however when you consider the gun tower at Quex it could have had a different use.

 I have a few reservations about this one too, the trouble is that once you start looking sceptically at a set of pictures, the chimney is likely to be for a steam engine to drive the mill when there isn't enough wind.

I would say the heyday of the milling would have been from about 1750 to about 1870 so there is a sense that dating stuff should be easy here in the bookshop, I did try and this seems to have resulted in further confusion.

The following pages come from a book published in 1825

Wetherspoons this evening, as the temperature was it was fairly low, I| think it was quieter thtan usual.

fairly fuzzy picture so you can't easily identify people out on such a cold night.

One of the bizarre things I saw today was when I went out during my lunch break, a fairly large group of volunteers were taking down the very small Christmas trees that appeared in Ramsgate town centre before Christmas.   

I had one of those bizarre conversations that one has nowadays with senior citizens, this one seemed to think this was council workers, five of them that is to take down 1 ft high Christmas trees.

An aspect of going of going out and taking photos with a camera as apposed my phone is unusual conversations about what I am photographing.    

The bookshop was fairly busy again today, and again I put this as much down to diminishing viable options on the non-food and clothes shopping front. here is the link to today's offerings 

I suppose you don’t really have to go back that far for there not to have been that much in terms of non-food shops, especially for ordinary people, so the recreational shopping period, which has gone trough towns, to out of town malls and now the internet is a bit of a narrow window.

Thinking back to a time of candles with most people getting up before dawn to do farm work or very manual housework I would imagine the people who lived to old age were more reluctant to bring back the old days.

I think the next series of local events will be the POW Power of Women Festival of Arts which is related to the anniversary of women getting the vote.  

Secondhand bookselling is word where I have dealt with independent female booksellers - ever since, Jean Pain in Cambridge, Mrs Gunyon in Sandwich to name a couple and while there were men at the helm, I think things were fairly equal.

The same with female authors, it's been a considerable time since major authors like the Bronte sisters had to use male pseudonyms.     

Visual art though is a strange one and painting, which I am beginning to understand a little bit has been male dominated - name your favorite women painters, it's the lack of one word names like Morisot or Emin that is striking.

1 comment:

  1. comment by email
    Hi Michael

    As ever - I can't comment directly due to lack of the online credentials required.

    The three mills were all very definitely there!

    Old Drapers Mill, is the one we still have, the other Smock Mill, known as Little Drapers was dismantled and transported in sections from Barham and re-erected on the St Peter's Footpath site in 1869. The brick tower mill was called "The Pumper" and that's a bit of a clue! It was built by Margate Corporation to pump water and was unusual in having five sweeps (sails to people outside Kent). That didn't last long as it was damaged in a storm and was rebuilt with just four. That also didn't last long as in another gale the mill was tail-winded and the entire cap and sweeps blown off. The Council decided not to repair it and it was tidied up with battlements, then eventually demolished.

    The operator's house on College Road is (or was?) called Watermill Cottage - which again might fool some local historians wondering where the river was - but perfectly understandable when you know the facts. The council built a steam pumping station in Dane Valley to replace the wind-powered pump and then the huge waterworks at Wingham as demand grew.

    In the other picture of the group of three mills (Pumper with four sweeps) the chimney is indeed for the first auxilliary steam engine fitted to the Old Mill.

    At one time the whole of that section of St Peter's Footpath was dedicated to the milling and baking business.

    The first house was The Mill House and built for the first miller, then came the Bakery, then The Old Mill, then Mill Cottage, for the miller of Little Drapers Mill, which completed the line up until 1893 when Mr. Ind, who owned the whole lot and two baker's shops in town, had "Claremont" built as his main residence. I grew up in Claremont and my Dad and I carried out the first temporary repairs to the mill in 1965 whilst my Mum was busy as Secretary of the Drapers Windmill Trust, raising funds with Reg Towes, headmaster (as they were called in those days) of Drapers Mills Schools.

    Sorry about the length of this reply - I suppose I should write the full history one day.

    Best wishes


    Hi again Michael

    Further to my last, this isn't a bad source of more info.


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